If tomorrow my English-born wife made the unilateral decision to move back with the kids I would follow as meek as a lamb and, quit.

Quit-Lit: “What would make you give up surfing? Be honest!”

Everyone has their breaking point.

We’ve already established in the newly formed, albeit protean field of quit literature, that sometimes it is merely a case of circumstance moving a man to a new town where surf is scarcer and the effort/reward ratio dips that causes the sword to be hung up.

Of course we all scoffed and/or thought “could not, would not happen to me” but maybe the truth is a little more prosaic.

Used to think I was pretty hard core.

Every fork in the road came my way I chose the one that went surf. Crewed a yacht from Hawaii to Guam, straight through the Marshalls, Micronesia. Days and days and weeks surfing empty atoll waves, anchored up in Kolonia harbour, surfing P-Pass before it was even a “thing”, before the Surfer mag cover blew it out.

Good waves, though, can be a curse, like the Egyptian Queen in Shakespeares Antony and Cleopatra they “make hungry where most they satisfy”. Their charms grow more compelling with time.

We rarely entertain sliding doors moments.

I could end up in Sydney, Bondi even. Honesty demands me to say I doubt I would last the distance. There would be some text messages from Derek, couple of go-outs. Then longer and longer radio silences. The lycra would beckon. An embarrassing encounter (or three) down on Campbell Parade with DR post surf and me in the lycra on the new road bike, eyes down.

Go-outs would shrivel up and die on the vine. I couldn’t cope with the downgrade. I think, like going down on all fours again after learning to walk and run. Sydney = quit for me.

Last week we had the week you dream about. Overhead every day, swells under the radar, hence few VAL’s around etc etc.

I got on the end of one with a bloke sitting with a dog on the grassy slope over-looking a local 300-yard Point wave. One guy out. We chatted.

“Out there?” I asked him.

He wasn’t out there. Was driving a truck and felt weird, so the story went. Stepped out and collapsed onto the road. Massive stroke. Forty years of surfing gone in an instant.

“You couldn’t get back out there?” I asked him.

“Took me twelve months to learn to walk again,” he said. “Surfing’s gone, it’s over. I watch now.”

Sunshine and swell beamed down on my local again yesterday. On the headland I saw a pal. Former pro surfer. One of the few with a winning record against Tom Curren. A man to whom old DH Lawrence could have been referring to when he said “For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive”.

Carved out of granite in his prime. He was downbeat, low energy.

“Everything OK?” I asked him.

“Nah, I’m really struggling eh.”

Anxiety and depression had him by the balls, were hollowing him out like an old dead tree.

What to do, what to say?

We’re told now surfing is an antidote to poor mental health but I think the causal arrow points the other way. Poor mental health robs the joy from surfing, makes people quit. I hugged him, told him I loved him, to call me if he wanted to talk and then paddled out.

He did not.

Mental health, strokes, heart attacks, city close-outs…what else would make me quit? Cold water, yep.

My babe is English. Whiles back, when the bub was still in arms, we went back with the aim of making a go of it in the Mother Country. We were holed up in Bournemouth, a Victorian* seaside town on the English Channel. There is surf there, and a surfing community.

When I say surf, I mean days when the narrow channel has been whipped into a rideable windswell. The water is cold, grey and polluted. It smells like wet dog and rotten sausages. The prime spots, next to Bournemouth and Boscombe piers,  magnificent, derelict structures, are surprisingly crowded.

I surfed, mostly to avoid causing my wife the embarrassment of explaining why her hard-core convict scum husband refused to paddle out.

If tomorrow she made the unilateral decision to move back to Bomo with the kids I would follow as meek as a lamb and, quit. A story on a pro surfer in Sweden whose daily bread is freezing cold onshore slop. Nope, quit.

Seattle, quit.

Boston, quit.

LA, quit.

San Diego, non-quit.

Newcastle(Aus), non-quit.

Florida, tarpon fishing.

Melbourne, quit.

Adelaide, quit.

Christchurch, quit.

Great Lakes, quit.

Holland, quit.

Scotland, quit. Well, maybe a splash and giggle once a year in the French shorebreak.

Not hard-core at all. Alhamdullilah, as Khabib would say.

Throw me out of the sub-tropics, away from warm blue water and good waves and I’d quit in a heartbeat. Soft core, to the core.

What would make you quit? Be honest.

Everyone has their breaking point. And what are your thoughts on this new genre of surf writing: quit lit?

Confronting or strangely comforting? Will it catch on? I think, yes.

*The Era, not the state in Australia.

Hot new product: Kelly Slater rocks the future of aquatic fashion, a midget tuxedo surfing vest!

Welcome to next year.

I visited Stab magazine’s online portal stabmag.com very recently and felt so very sorry for the once proud title that used to call Bondi home until Venice-adjacent came calling. Two days ago, you see, someone there posted a riff on the most embarrassing surf products ever. The whole thing seemed very “un-Stab” as its stable of BeachGrit cast-offs typically engage in advertorial pursuits but there it appeared anyhow. Slamming GoPro, a fine camera that overcame early CEO hiccups to soar, and Nose Guards which haven’t been around in a decade.

One of the most embarrassing surf products ever, according to Stab, were eye stickers you affix to the bottom of your surfboard to scare sharks away. Laughable, certainly. Today that same product appeared as straight up advertorial.

Uh oh.

And I would make plenty of fun of any company that pays for a “Stab Recommends…” except I truly and without sarcasm feel sorry. The whole enterprise seems to be circling the drain but I don’t want it too. Stab was once proud. A glorious antidote to surfing taking itself too seriously. Could you find it in your heart to visit there again? You can click here and it would mean very much to me.

In the meantime, BeachGrit will never offer a bum steer when it comes to worthy/worthless products. Those shark eye stickers are obviously dumb but what about Kelly Slater’s new midget tuxedo surfing vest?

(Disclaimer: Nike, the entity that appears to manufacture Kelly Slater’s new midget tuxedo surfing vest, has not paid for this post.)

It looks awesome, clearly, but what is it for? It appears too small to provide floatation and Kelly appears to be standing somewhere that floatation isn’t an issue.

Back compression?

Cancer reduction?

Pure style?

Obviously it’s pure style. But also what else?


And don’t forget to visit Stab!

I, for instance, find the color of Kai Lenny's tan interesting. I also enjoyed his barrel advice, though I think it's time to reclassify Surf Ranch's barrel as something else. It's a little bit unfair to all those who had to figure out shifty, weird, crowded, inconsistent barrels in the wild for Steve Aoki to claim "I got barreled."

Experience: the World Surf League’s newest program “Surf Ranch Sessions” feat. Steve Aoki and Kai Lenny!

Very cute!

Now, I’ve been entirely remiss in bringing the World Surf League’s newest programming here for discussion. If honest, I’m only vaguely aware of the new shows, concepts and episodes coming out of Santa Monica’s Studio division which is somewhat odd seeing that I peruse, read, watch and think about surf and surf content almost every minute of every day. Until today, the WSL’s slate of programming has not forced me to stop. Oh I understand, somewhat, that what they are producing is not for me and not for you but rather for the surf fan of the future. The non-grumpy un-local. And so I skip right over it in my email’s inbox and my Instagram feed exactly like I skip over served ads for Sofi fee-free personal loans.

Today, though, I not only stopped but watched the pilot episode in the WSL’s newest series Surf Ranch Sessions. I engaged partially because of the attached picture featuring DJ Steve Aoki and Kai Lenny jumping but also because I was emailed the three minute video eight or nine times, DM’d another ten or fifteen and texted twice.

A breakthrough.

Though there is no description, Surf Ranch Sessions seems like it will be a serial that features a celebrity surfing Surf Ranch for the first time paired with a professional surfer.

In this episode, DJ Steve Aoki declared that it is one of his three dreams to get barreled at Surf Ranch. The others were DJing in space and swimming cage-less with sharks. Kai shows him the ropes, there is a climax of sorts and then the two sit and discuss parallels between DJing and surfing. Pushing through boundaries, past fear, etc.

I insist you watch here before further discussion.

And I know the brass in Santa Monica believe we are only filled with bitterness and gall. That we love nothing more than sitting in our shit shack and throwing rocks at their fine glass tower but let’s really try to find things we like. Let’s focus on the positives.

I, for instance, find the color of Kai Lenny’s tan interesting. I also enjoyed his barrel advice, though I think it’s time to reclassify Surf Ranch’s barrel as something else. It’s a little bit unfair to all those who had to figure out shifty, weird, crowded, inconsistent barrels in the wild for Steve Aoki to claim “I got barreled.” In fact, he clearly didn’t as the camera cuts away very abruptly at the end. I understand the producers had to give the episode its seminal moment but even if he had shot out with the spit, we should call it something else. “Water parked” or “flushed” or something and uh oh…

….here comes the grumpies!

What the fuck was that? Who was it for? Steve Aoki fans? Kai Lenny fans? It certainly wasn’t for damned surf fans, I’ll tell you that right now. It was devoid of meaning, contrived and driving the shallowest, most manufactured narrative of “stoke” and surf as a conduit for conversation. I get that Surf Ranch is custom made for this sort of content but if the point is “bringing disparate folk together” then why not invite some crusty, WSL hating hick and try to convince her that pools are glorious? Or Wiggolly’s Paddling Style and WSL President of Content, Media, Studios and Applebee’s Loaded Fajitas Erik “ELo” Logan? Or Eddie Rothman and Ian Cairns who still have wonderful, simmering beef tracing its heritage all the way back to those “Bustin’ Down the Door days. I know that would be very “inside” very “small” but DJ Steve Aoki?

Trading on a celebrity culture that peaked eight years ago is not only tired and boring, it’s fucking embarrassing. I think, and I could be wrong, that the “surf fan of the future” might actually enjoy  a view into what surf culture actually is as opposed to what Santa Monica is attempting to create and sell. Again, there are so many potential partners with whom the World Surf League could team to deliver these stories. The Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, The Surfer’s Journal, Jamie Brisick, Hardcore mag in Brazil, Jed Smith and Vaughn Blakey, Zigzag mag in South Africa to name but a tiny fraction.

Matt Warshaw, yet another glorious potential partner, gifted me with an introduction to Cocaine + Surfing (buy here) that I ponder regularly. He wrote:

We should know better- we used to know better – than to try and reshape surfing into a sport that fits into a Mutual of Omaha ad campaign, or an Olympic telecast. Selling the sport isn’t a crime. But sell it on our own terms, the way Bruce Brown did with Endless Summer. Make them come to us. And if they don’t, so what? But no, we continue slicing off our legacy of cool, of independence, piece by piece, in exchange for a seat in the nosebleed section of mainstream culture then we compound the error (not ‘we’, actually but the World Surf League, the NYSE-traded surfwear companies, and whoever convinced the IOC to make surfing an Olympic sport for the 2020 games in Tokyo) by passing this auto-swindle as growth and progress.

Fucking shit fucking fuck and… breathe.


Serenity now.

Serenity now.

I also watched a few episodes from the series Transformed feat. Shaun Tomson. Heartstring tugs, inspirational stories using surfing as a platform for overcoming obstacles etc.

Very cute though I do have MAJOR problems with the Afghanistan feature-ette but let’s save that for another day, shall we?

Brazil, best surfing nation on earth, it's official etc. | Photo: ISA

Italo Ferreira wins ISA World Surfing Games; Brazil officially world’s #1 surfing nation!

Meanwhile, once-great surf country, Australia, barely scrapes in front of Germany and Canada…

Miyazaki, Japan: Brazilian wizard Italo Ferreira has weaved his way through the Byzantine web that is the ISA World Surfing Games, with its hundreds of hours of heats and losers rounds, and emerged as gold medallist, beating Kolohe Andino, Gabriel Medina and Japan’s Shun Murakami in today’s final.

Italo, of course, made headlines four days ago, when he arrived for his opening heat with no board, wetsuit or surf trunks and with nine minutes remaining. He won. Of course.

And, today, in reasonable sorta rampy junk that gave multi-faceted surfers such as Italo, Gabriel, Brother and co untold advantage, Italo hucked his way to a narrow win over Brother.

Italo’s backside air, below, scored ten points. A frontside air of Kolohe’s, a 9.43.

Here, the ten.

And, here, Brother’s 9.43.


If you want to go by nation, Brazil is officially number one, USA, number two, followed by Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, Portugal and the once-great surfing nation, Australia, who did finish slightly ahead of Germany and Canada.

The event, despite its convoluted nature, proved to be surprisingly pleasing with an earlier heat, a portent of the final as it turned out, featuring Kolohe Andino, Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Kelly Slater.

A heat don’t get much more stacked than that.

Full results here. 

Horrifying: “Man-eating” Great White shark terrorizes innocent children by turning ocean “crimson red!”

"Weeping could be heard from children, curled in the corner begging God to make it stop."

We surfers, we non-canoers, know intimately how vicious those exclusively “man-eating” Great Whites can be but the general pre-VAL population has no idea the horrors that are in store for them. Of course you have been following along with this unprecedented summer, now autumn, of sharks. Of course you have been saddened at how they turned my once sylvan North County, San Diego into a bubbling cauldron of pain. Of course you have been mortified at how they have repopulated New England’s traditionally chill Cape Cod, eating longtime residents while injecting a sickly “looky-loo” impulse into visiting hordes.

Well, those who think Great Whites are a beautiful dancing gift were treated to a harsh truth just yesterday when a whale watching tour was derailed by an obscene feeding frenzy. A completely uncalled for bacchanal that turned the ocean a “crimson red” and in front of weeping children and their horrified mothers and let us turn to the scientific journal International Business Times for the latest:

The whale watchers could be heard screaming as the scene unfolded just a few yards from the deck of the boat. One of the onlookers could be heard crying as the boat continued its journey.

Great white attack terrified tourists as the water suddenly turned crimson.

Families watching aboard a whale watching tour vessel witnessed the attack as the shark tore a seal apart near Green’s Point Lighthouse in Brunswick, Canada.

Initially, not much could be seen as the majority of the fight took place beneath the surface. The fin came out as the seal began to thrash around trying to get away.

That was the time the water turned a deep red with the blood of the victim. The shark as if excited, accelerated its attack.

One of the women began to fret about the seals they had viewed earlier in the tour. She was worried one of those could be at risk of becoming prey for the shark.

Another person reassured her they were not the ones to alert the seals considering the attack may well have scared the rest of them away.

Weeping could be heard from children, curled in the corner begging God to make it stop.

I’ve been telling you. I’ve been telling you all along. Any creature as insensitive to the psychological needs of young children as Great White sharks should never be trusted.

Never ever and the hit song “Baby Shark” has officially been rendered troublesome. Put into the exact same category as Billie Jean.